Electrified!

Yesterday had a lot of happiness to it, so let’s celebrate that! The electricians came in and hooked up all our new outbuildings so we can enjoy some light, air conditioning, heat, and fun. Yes, the pool house, chicken coop, and most important, the tack room, are all hooked up. Whoop! Some work still needs to be done, but the tack room was all ready to go.

Look, a light!

The lights are good, of course, but the most important thing that happened was the perky new air conditioner got up and running. I enjoyed basking in its coolness while I rearranged all the new feed I got when we went out yesterday.

Why, no, the air conditioner will NOT be set to that temperature in the future. Lee requests 78. We will see.

To celebrate the advent of the electric age, I also upgraded my floor cleaning technology and installed a cute little stick vacuum cleaner that’s cordless. It arrived all charged up, so I gave it a whirl. It worked great and now there are no crumbs laying around to encourage vermin (they can easily get in through the doors, because they have a gap–plan is to replace them one of these days with a nice barn door.

Vacuum cleaner, ready to go (plus stored bags and my helmets)

I’m all excited to finish fixing up the tack room. There is some painting to do, a light fixture to install, and the small refrigerator to obtain. That will all be soon. In the meantime, I have art to put up and things to allow me to get a bit of work done in there. I’m also going to get a small coffeemaker.

Also, light bulbs will go in those lamps today.

However, no coffee will be made today, since we are under a boil notice from the water company. Boo hoo. Hope that is fixed soon. In the meantime, I have bottled beverages to take over there.

Outside view of the little air conditioner that CAN! (It will also heat)

There was a lot involved with getting the electrical work done. Many things needed to be hooked up, large pipes needed to be filled with wire, and hookups made to all the little breaker boxes (we still need one more larger one, which I think will show up later today). The horses were fascinated when the workers were at the tack room!

We aren’t interested in the electricity. What’s on that trailer?

Yes, the horses got a present yesterday, too. I bought them a hay ring. It’s not as nice as my dream one, which is what my friend Cindy had on her beautiful ranch, but it will last a long time and was “only” $300. Livestock stuff ain’t cheap.

Hay ring, and chicken food that has to go over to the coop. That porch light ALSO works now, by the way.

I’m so excited that I have a place to cool off when working with the horses and Fiona, and that I can write in my horse journal there, have horsey friends over, and whatever. I am also glad the chickens will be able to have a heater in the winter and a warmer if we have chicks again. The coop still needs to be finished, but it wasn’t a high priority. The chickens are happy enough to have the new coop to hang out in when it gets hot. Every day I go to get eggs and find them all in there, relaxing comfortably!

I’ll show you just how happy I am. Lee gave me a flower sticker and it fell on my nail polish box just right. I’m as happy as that donkey looks!

Have a good weekend!

Special Delivery, Size XL

Our pool house project is coming along slowly but surely, since it gets worked on nights and weekends. The walls are framed in and some electrical is in. There is no shortage of outlets, and it has a hefty breaker box.

Workers working on the pool house

And earlier this week, our friend Felix’s crew came by and installed the air conditioning system. They wanted to do it before plumbing or insulation went in. It looks good! Shiny!

We won’t know how it works until service is connected. That will happen…soon? I care a lot because that will also be when the Hen Haus (my new name for it, in homage to our Hermit Haus business we owned) and the Suna Shack (plus Kathleen) will get electrified. I bet the chickens will be thrilled.

But a big question about the pool house got answered today: why is the bathroom so big?

There’s something big

When I saw the truck show up and a huge box get unloaded it became clear. The pool house would also have its own “indoor pool” in that bathroom. It was a surprise for the bath lover in our family, Kathleen, who has been stuck with a standard tub while here in the guest room. Now she will be able to enjoy the soaking dream, and look out the window at our pond.

Good thing we have a big gate

That was a special delivery! I can’t wait to see how our pool house and its bathroom come out.

My son was very glad he didn’t have to lift it.

We will unveil the tub later, but I got a peek. It reminds me of the one we had in Bobcat. It was NICE.

Baby, It’s Cold Inside (Or, weird hotels I have known)

That’s right, blog readers, I am in yet another hotel. I had to be in Austin today for a couple of appointments, and I didn’t want to miss a whole lot of work driving to Austin and back from the ranch. The original plan was to stay at a friend’s house, but their guest room was full of boxes, and my back (and pelvic area) can’t take even a pretty and spacious couch right now. So, I booked two nights in the hotel closest to the Bobcat neighborhood.

This was quite modern in the 1990s.

I’ve looked at this hotel for what, 25 years now, but hadn’t been in it until last night. It’s an older one that has obviously seen lots and lots of conferences and workshops, but thanks to COVID has a lot of empty space. I got the corner room on the top floor, facing the courtyard, which gives me an interesting view of scaffolding.

View from my room

I thought it would be quieter, but the bartender, a fun Cantonese woman, assured me that sound travels up and echoes around. Sure enough, it does. But there are not many people around, so it’s okay. She said a month or two ago there was a film crew in the hotel, and it got VERY loud. Yes, I had myself an Old Fashioned at the bar last night. There was only one creepy person there. I ended up with two drinks, because the bartender didn’t like how the first one came out. Fine with me.

Trusses, up close and personal.

I had dinner last night with Anita at a teeny-tiny Japanese restaurant at the Arboretum, which brought back fond memories of when I first moved to Austin and the kids’ dad worked in the office building next to the shopping center. We spent a LOT of time at the bookstore and Thundercloud Subs. Hey, that’s where the Japanese restaurant is now.

We took a walk around the shops after dinner, and they were all closed except this really cool space full of things by local Austin artists. I wanted one of everything, but just got Anita a candle holder made out of tiny skulls. The place is called ArtUs Co Shop, and will only be open through the holidays, sigh. I knew I shouldn’t have put off checking the place out. If you are in Austin and need to buy gifts, go there. It’s like the Armadillo Bazaar only less crowded.

Anyway, about this cold. Wow is this hotel quirky. The staff are GREAT, though. But the hallway to my room is colder than it was in Colorado, and my room has stayed a brisk 67 degrees since I got here. It’s fine at night, since there are my beloved Hilton linens and pillows to keep my cozy, but while I have been trying to work, I’ve turned into an ice cube.

Brr.

I told them at the front desk, and they brought me a warm blanket (just as nice as the warm cookie upon check in). But, no one has come to work on the heat issue.

I do love the down comforters on these Hilton beds.

I went to get coffee to warm up, and the front desk clerk said to get nice fresh coffee upstairs. The server rolled her eyes and said they ALWAYS send people up there for coffee without pointing out that it costs $3. I got mine free because I had been downstairs earlier for a quirky but delicious breakfast. They sort of have a restaurant at the hotel, but not really. I did like the breakfast potatoes a lot, even though I think they made me sick. I ate along with an assortment of bald business dudes and younger couples whose male members wore gimme caps. Every single male under 40 had one on.

If I’m frozen to this desk, Anita knows where I am.

I think I like cold and quirky hotels, to be honest. They have character, like Valdoro Lodge in Colorado did. I can overlook the ill-fitting hallway carpet and random buzzing noises as well as the outlets that will not charge my phone. I have peace and quiet, which means I got so much work done already today that my boss is probably mentally telling me to stop. I did stop to eat a Kind bar and blog during “lunch hour.”

I look forward to seeing my old neighbors tonight, so I hope to have more to report tomorrow. At the ranch, the horses all got out of the pasture, but Lee says they are fine. Did I forget to lock a gate? I wouldn’t put it past me! And in final ranch news, I am told the pool will get worked on again Friday or Monday. As Lee’s dad would have said, “We’ll see.”

Wow, That Pope House Is COOL!

Of course, we’ve been hearing how cool the Pope Residence is ever since we started working on it. Heck, it’s a pretty fine place, and we are excited to move into the offices. Kathleen’s in already, and Lee’s office is ready for him. We even have blinds for some of the windows (the big ones are, naturally, special order).

Window blinds, ready to be installed for privacy and light control. And what’s that above the window?

But now, the house is actually cool! That’s right! Felix and his very charming son showed up yesterday to get all our mini-splits and the regular air conditioning unit set up and running. You know that is a relief to Kathleen, since she was in there working and it was getting up to 99 F outside!

Mini-splits getting checked for how well they cool.

I got to enjoy watching Felix and son work on the system, and I was so impressed with how eager the young man (19) is to learn from his dad, and how patient Felix is with his teaching.

Installing the thermostat in Lee’s office.

We were all very happy to see each other, since it had been something like 5 years since I last saw a spindly teen, who’s now an adult!

Supervisin’ – in this case Felix was teaching his son how to measure the hole for the air conditioning filter properly.

The systems are all working great. If you ever need air conditioning work, we recommend Felix! His number is on his shirt, wink, wink.

But There’s More!

That’s not all that’s going on, however. Monday, Chris and I picked up a lot of the stuff needed to finish the downstairs at our new offices. He got to work yesterday and installed the counter-tops in the break room, which are lovely laminate, but don’t look too bad, I think, especially next to the metal wall. I was quite impressed with the angled edge that adds a wee bit more space for us, but won’t cause us to bump into the edge as we turn the corner. The hole for the sink still needs to go in and it will be ready for plumbing!

Another little detail that got taken care of is that the remaining tin ceiling tile finally arrived, after having to be re-ordered (it was supposed to be at Lowe’s, but no one could find it). First thing yesterday morning, Chris finished out the bathroom off my office. Hooray! Tubby has a nice ceiling to look at now.

The finished bathroom ceiling (other than a couple of trim pieces). That’s one blingy room!

Exciting New Plans

Because things are changing rapidly at Hearts Homes and Hands, the business that’s going to occupy the Pope house, our plans for the building are evolving. The original plan was for the beautiful front room to serve as both a reception/front office area and an office for the Care Manager (Meghan).

This ugly thing is the upstairs bathroom. Believe it or not, this is a huge improvement.

However, by the end of the month, Meghan will have more responsibilities that will require her to keep documents in her office that need to be protected for HIPAA reasons. That means she needs a door that locks (right now she’s in Kathleen’s old office at the Hermit Haus, which locks). There is no door to the reception area, because we wanted to preserve the beautiful woodwork there.

The lovely woodwork at left is being preserved (we have a door in the other opening; this is a photo from April).

So…we will be creating an office for the Assistant Administrator on the second floor, where a lock can be installed. The office is in a great room that looks out on trees and the balcony. All we have to do is put in a room air conditioner and paint the walls and she will be up and running!

This is the room that will be Meghan’s office, once the trim that will be put back and extra insulation is moved again.

The unfortunate consequence of this change is that poor Randy will have to move all that wood he moved IN that room back OUT to another room. That’s really fun in this heat. Not.

This office will be empty when Felix comes back and finishes the big air conditioning ductwork next week. It’s where the stuff currently in Meghan’s office goes, I think.

Speaking of Randy, he has been busy cleaning out the upstairs rooms and getting them “reno-ready.” Yesterday he removed all the carpets that were in a couple rooms. Ick.

The area where all the filing and storage stuff will go. We will remove the stained wallpaper, which extends to the ceiling, oddly enough. The stains are from a leak in the roof that was repaired.

The back room that has windows looking out to the stairwell is completely empty now. It’s destiny is to become the document storage room. State-regulated agencies generate a LOT of paperwork and much of it needs to be saved for audit purposes and CYA and all that. Since we will need to have immediate access to it, we need it to be in the building. So, the former giant closet room for the previous occupant will be storing something else.

The other side of the future storage room, which has formerly beautiful wallpaper that must come down. Those are original windows. The doors at right are my future desk!

That’s as far as we have gotten with the second floor. I’m not sure how much else we are going to do soon, since after we close on July 1, we will be working on the Ross house project, and that will be a LOT as well. More on that one soon!

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